AaW Chapter 16

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“So when will he be here?” Paige asked for the tenth time in as many minutes.

“I don't know, Roger is always unpredictable and usually late. He sounded scared though, like he had to get out. I expect him and Marge to show up any time.” this was Dora's stock answer to the same question.

Apparently Paige was irritable when she was woken up early. Dora had to admit to herself that she was not much better. Her plan was to get Roger in and out and not bother with anything else. The two women were in the kitchen, Dora in her robe, Paige in a cover stolen from Mike's bed. Both were sipping coffee, Mike was not with them. Dora had him looking in the garage for the alleged 'gun' that Roger had hidden there. She had gone into the garage with him to unplug the wireless garage door openers, she did not want him pulling up and opening the doors to the garage.

That would be an invitation to the crew of zombies that were still walking about outside the front of her house. The herd had thinned out a little more, they hadn’t really gone anywhere, but had spread out evenly along the street. When Dora came into the garage she had Mike help her haul in the ladder, to move up to the bedroom eventually, for now it sat in the kitchen, very much out of place.

Dora's phone rang, both women jumped a little, Paige spilling hot coffee over her fingers. “Fuck!”

“Oh, Paige you always proposition me at the worst times! Maybe later.” Dora flipped her phone open after noting it was Roger calling, “Hello Roger. Are you almost here?”

“Close, but I can't get there. I am at the end of our street, there are a bunch of...them in the street. We can't get any closer to the house. Do you want to meet us at the end of the block?”

Dora laughed, “No. I am not leaving the house.”

“I want that gun Dora, we need something for protection.”

“Well do what we did, steal one from the neighbors! I am not venturing out in the middle of the fucking night to bring you a gun.”

“It’s almost four.”

“So how do you think I am going to get to you? Walk? Through the zombie field?” Dora asked.

“Well, you have to leave anyway, just load up in the suburban and plow through them.”

“You in the Volvo or Marge's car?”

“My car.” Roger said with disdain, as if the very thought of driving Marge's car was distasteful.

“Don't want to dent it, eh? Well my answer to you is ‘no’. Come back tomorrow if you can't make it through now.”

“Dora, you are not listening to me. You have to evacuate now, the governor said so. Get in the suburban and plow your way towards us, we are on the corner of Heritage. We will wait for you there.”

“Okay, have a good wait.” Dora hung up the phone. Turning to Paige she said, “Well I guess he isn't coming after all. Let’s bring the ladder up to the bathroom and see if we can get out onto the roof.”

“Now?” Paige asked.

“Why not? I am awake, thanks to 'Roger the Bastard'. I suspect he will wait for about twenty minutes and try something stupid. I don't like him right now, but I don't want to see him eaten alive either. If we get up on the roof we might be able to shoot a few zombies, if we have to.”

“Fine. God this sucks. The things people do in relationships.”

“Why Paige, I think this is the first time you have ever complained to me about relationships! We are getting to be regular ol’ girlfriends now, aren't we?”

“Dora, you are so not in my class, I don't even think we could be friends.” said Paige, but she smiled as she said it.

“I know, I know, but I can pretend to slum once in a while, right?”

Hefting her end Paige laughed, “Why would you want to?”

“Because of the drama! There is so little on television these days, so I have to get my entertainment somewhere.”

They started hauling the ladder upstairs and had no problem until getting it to the doorway to the master bedroom. Then they had to move a stand in the hallway and carefully slide the thing through. Dora was carefully trying not to scrape up the walls or trim and Paige grudgingly went along with her.

“You know we probably won't be able to get any repairs made now, so we should take care of the place as best we can.” Dora explained.

“If you say so. So you don't want to evacuate?”

“Not at night. Not right now. That is fucking insane. I don't know what Roger is thinking.” Getting the ladder set up in the bathroom was easy once they got the top into the shaft of the sky light. The ladder fit well in the space, after fiddling with it a few minutes the women managed to telescope it up until the rungs were just shy of the sky light.

“Let me open it up.”, said Dora, pressing a switch on the wall near the bottom of the shaft. A low humming noise could be heard and up above, lost in the gloom the window started opening.

“How far does it open?” asked Paige.

“You know, I don't know. I’ve never opened it. I mean this is Kansas City dear, not North Dakota where we can just open a window to cool the place off in the summer. We only used the air conditioning. Should I risk a peek with the flashlight?”

All three of them in the house had been being very careful with their lights, particularly when using them near any windows. They were not entirely sure that the zombies were attracted to light, however it seemed like a good bet.

“Yeah, do it. Wait unit it is open all the way.”

“Duh.” replied Dora, when the motor stopped the covered the lens of the flashlight with one hand and sent a narrow, soft beam upwards, trying to walk it up one wall before hitting the window. What they saw was good, the window was hinged on the upper slope and opened wide on the side facing the back yard. The wedge shaped opening had to be at least a foot and a half, something any of them could get through.

“We will have to take the screen out, no big loss. Should we go up now?”

“Hold on, I hear something downstairs.” Paige said.

Dora listened and heard the garage door shut, both women waited, listening to what they hoped was Mike climbing the stairs. The young man entered the room and saw them peering at him from the bathroom, in his hands he carried a large metal case. “Hey.” he called by way of greeting, “I found it. I think. I mean it is heavy enough.”

“What is it?”

“Can't tell, it’s locked. A good gun case. I was hoping we could find the keys.”

“Where was it?”

“Under a built in shelf that had a bunch of old golf clubs, and other stuff, like exercise stuff, on it. I had to take the shelf off to get to it. You never saw this?”

Dora shook her head, “Another one of Roger's secrets I guess.”

“I like 'The Bastard' better.” said Paige.

“Me too.” seconded Mike.

“Sounds good to me. Now where would Roger keep his keys?”

“Under his underwear?” said Paige.

“In a safe?” suggested Mike.

“Safe? I don't think we have a safe. It wouldn't surprise me to find out we have one, maybe leading to an underground bunker filled with Asian sex slaves. Let’s check the dresser first, you do that, I will check his nightstand.” The other two set about rifling through the dresser Dora pointed out, while Dora looked through the nightstand on the side of the bed.

It took all of two minutes of searching then Paige said, “I think I found it.” She held up a key ring with several keys that she had taken from a padded manila envelope. Paige looked a little uncomfortable; her stance was awkward as she held out the key to Dora.

“What Paige? What else is in the envelope?”

“Ah…pictures.” Paige began, “Of 'The Bastard', I guess. And women. Not all of them are you.”

“Oh. I see. Many different women or just one other woman?”

“Three or four. Maybe more. They are, God, they are pornographic! He was into taking pictures of himself during sex?”

“Only for a while, it was a phase. He told me he got rid of them. And he left them in the dresser. Proof of his infidelities right there, not ten feet from the bed we slept in. Of course, I didn’t find them, so what does that say about me?” Dora felt herself begin tear up. Then she channeled her sorrow into anger, saying, “I will not give him the satisfaction. I will not. Unlock it Mike.” Dora gestured at Mike to take the keys from Paige and try them in the box.

Only one key looked like it was small enough to fit and sure enough it worked. Paige tucked the envelope back into the second drawer of the dresser and shut it firmly.

Mike opened the box to reveal a short, nasty looking rifle. To Dora it looked like the type of gun a terrorist would use. “What the fuck is that thing?”

Mike looked at it, “I don't know. An assault rifle, I guess. The paperwork is here too, I think.” he said rummaging around in the padded case, “It is a...MR556, I've never heard of it.” Mike flipped through the book reading out the stats as he picked them up in the dim light. “Semi-automatic, only a ten round magazine.” he paused and pointed into the box, “That holds more than ten bullets I bet.” What he had pointed at looked like a clip from a movie to Dora and Paige, only it wound around upon itself. “I think that is a drum magazine, probably holds fifty shots and it might be illegal.”

“Illegal? Roger? I didn't know he had it in him.”

“Well, maybe illegal. There are laws that restrict this kind of gun from having a large clip, to try and limit the amount of destruction a civilian can have access to. Usually it is ten rounds, bullets, but that does not stop people from making other....” Mike stopped, and whistled as a small slip of paper fell out of the manual.

“What?” Dora asked.

Mike held up the piece of paper, “Two thousand dollars, just for the gun, the drum, it’s says it is a thirty round drum, was another ninety bucks. Plus he has, five, no six, boxes of ammo for it. Dang he spent a lot of money on this thing.”

“Two grand? For a gun? We could have had the hot tub in for that much! Geezus!” said Dora, she then shrugged her shoulders, “Oh well, this will work better now than a hot tub would, right? Can you make it work?”

By way of answer Mike handed her the gun, Dora almost dropped it, it had to weigh six or seven pounds, “I showed you how to use the other rifles, you should be able to get this one to work, so show me.”

Hefting the rifle, Dora looked along the length, Mike handed her a magazine and she inserted it into the gun. Dora set the safety to 'semi' instead of on 'safe' and then looked at Mike, “That is it, right?”

“Pretty much. The magazine wasn't loaded, so you will want to do load it, but it is simple enough, like all the others. This one is a carbine, not a rifle. See how it…well the barrel anyway, is shorter than the ones on the rifles?” Mike pointed to the other guns, which were leaning up against the wall in the bedroom.

“Yeah, it is shorter, like for a girl, right?”

Mike just looked at her, then shook his head, “No. Not 'for a girl', it looks almost like an M4 carbine, which is what our guys in the military used to use. It might be an updated version or something.” Still shaking his head he repeated, “Not for a girl.”

“So do we keep it or give it to 'The Bastard' when he shows up?” asked Paige.

“Hmmm, I suppose we should give it to him. I wouldn't mind keeping it; it would serve him right to have to go out there without any weapons.”

Dora's phone started ringing. She handed the carbine to Mike and went and picked it up off of the dresser. Glancing at the caller id she said “Hello Roger.”

“Are you almost here? What is taking so long?”

“Well two things really, first we had to find the gun. It is real nice too Roger, really nice, you don't mind if we use it do you?”

“I am not stupid. It’s in a locked box. I have the keys.”

“You left a spare in the manila envelope in your dresser, next to all those photos of you with women who are not me. Yep, we found those. Got your gun out, loaded and everything. So our marriage was just a sham wasn't it, I was someone you could drag to your office functions while you slept around on me with whomever would spread their legs for you? And that brings me to reason two we haven't driven up there; we are not leaving the fucking house. You want the gun, then grow some goddamn balls and come get it yourself!” Dora hung up the phone and sat down on the bed, Mike and Paige looked at her with a mix of pity and support. Paige put her hand on the other woman's shoulder and Dora shook it off angrily, “Don't Paige, just don't right now. Let’s get some weapons up on the roof. Roger will be showing up soon.”

Dora's phone rang again; she pressed a button to send it to voice mail, then powered her phone off. The three of them each loaded a gun and then put some extra bullets along with a few other odds and ends into a small, canvas purse that resembled a backpack. Mike chose to take Roger's rifle and Dora waved her assent when he asked her about it.

The three climbed slowly out onto the roof from the sky light opening, they were just below the center of the roof line on the back side of the house. The pitch of the roof was not so great that if they lost their balance or dropped something that it would slide all the way to the edge and drop off. Still, they found themselves treading with caution when they leaned over the top of the roof to view the front of the house. There were still dozens of zombies milling about on the ground out in front.

Following Mike’s lead the women chose to prop their weapons against the apex of the roof, which steadied their guns and also decreased their visibility to anyone in the front. The drawback to where they had chosen to lay down was that the garage roof obscured part of their view of the street and almost all of the view of Dora's driveway, they could not even see Paige's car from where they were at.

Mike edged towards the side of the house, to get a better view of the drive and what was beyond it, then they all settled down to wait. Below them, in the bedroom, the house phone began to ring.

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